I really have the loveliest class. They generally get along well, they’re nice, they’re interested, they’re passionate, they’re weathering this weird pandemic time relatively well. We’re together in person, which means lots of reminders of, “Get your mask up!”, “You’re too close, this is a pandemic, you guys, spread out please!”, and, “Hey, if you’re not worried about getting anything, please just let’s be cool until I get my vaccine, huh?*”
We had good stuff set for today. We had a vocabulary game, we continued our Black History Month biography series, and the kids took a ton of notes on Robert Sengstacke Abbot, we learned about the beginning of the Civil War using our history text and some fun, irreverent metaphors, and we wrote an outline for a great introductory paragraph of a paper stating that it can be pretty hard to be a kid. That’s a lot of stuff, and we worked well on it.
But the thing is, we never got great traction today. The lessons went well but they took too long. Now, I’m definitely one to let things go long if we’re in a flow, but this was the opposite. If we were a car on the road, we’d still be travelling in the right direction, but the drive wheels would just be a bit slippy. There were too many dumb little interruptions, too many asides that just kind of ate time. And I did my best to handle it with redirection and encouragement. I built in little breaks, I brought in some movement. It helped some, but still, just kind of a low-traction day.
And that’s okay. It’s not always going to go smoothly. It’s not always going to be easy. Many of the things that we share with our students in order to teach about them won’t stick. They might stick up until the test, but eventually they’ll go away, until they encounter it later in life one day, and think, “Hey, I think I learned about that once!” It’s alright. Know that it’s not going to be perfect, and do your best to enjoy your time with your kids anyway!
In the spirit of that, as we were playing Silent Speed Ball at recess, the kid who angrily argues with every judgement call against him let it go whenever the ref said he was out. He watched me voluntarily follow the ref’s call when I got out, and he actually listened to that advice today on several occasions. At the end of the day, I said to him, “I noticed you were working hard to play more fairly today.” He acknowledged that he was trying. I said, “I know that’s hard. Good job!”
Even with the lack of traction in our lessons, I get to call this day a big step forward!
*Listen, I’m talking tongue in cheek with that last one. I don’t want any of my kids, any of their family members, or anyone we come in contact with to get sick. With that said, they like me enough that saying, “At least do it for me,” works sometimes!